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chiefs vs. Jaguars: Weather, TV channel, streaming, big matchups, NFL Divisional Round Playoffs prediction

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The first game of the divisional round of the NFL playoffs pits the AFC’s #1 seed Kansas City Chiefs against the #4 seed Jacksonville Jaguars.

With the Jags coming off a thrilling comeback win over Kansas City’s AFC West brothers, they certainly have a turning point on their minds as they travel to the Midwest. The Chiefs, meanwhile, are hoping to secure a trip to their fifth straight AFC Championship game. They’ve come at least this far in every year of the Andy Reid-Patrick Mahomes era, and it’s unlikely they want that streak to come to an end now.

So which of these teams will advance to the next round? We’re glad you asked. Before we detail the confrontation, see how you can watch the game.

how to watch

Meeting: Saturday, January 21st | Time: 4:30 pm ET
Location: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Missouri)
TV: NBC | Chain: fuboTV (try it free)
Follow: CBS Sports app
Chances: Chiefs -8.5, O/U 53 (courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook)

When the Jaguars have the ball

It’s extremely hacky to imitate the opening of A Tale of Two Cities by introducing a point, but dammit if last week wasn’t worst-half followed by best-half for Trevor Lawrence. Before halftime against the Los Angeles Chargers, Lawrence was just 10 of 24 for 77 yards, a touchdown and an incredible FOUR interceptions. After the break, he was 18-of-23 for 211 yards and three touchdowns, with zero picks.

Obviously, the first type of midfielder absolutely cannot happen against Kansas City if the Jaguars want to stay in the game. The Chiefs are not the Chargers and will not let an opponent survive this type of performance. And the Jags really might need Lawrence to play at the level he reached in that second half, all game long, just to keep up with Kansas City’s explosive offense. That means he’ll also need to top the performance he put in when these teams met in Week 10, when he completed 29 of 40 passes but for just 259 yards (6.5 per attempt) and two touchdowns. It was a solid game, but not enough to keep up with what Patrick Mahomes was doing on the other end of the ball.

If Lawrence wants to get the kinds of results the Jags need from him, it will likely come through shooting into midfield. Kansas City ranked 29th in the Football Outsiders DVOA in those attempts, while Lawrence was 35-of-48 for 392 yards, five touchdowns and a pick in passing hashes, according to Tru Media. He ranked sixth in the league in Expected Added Points (EPA) per drop on those plays.

Playing the middle likely means working out struggles with slot man Christian Kirk (76% of snaps in the slot, according to Pro Football Focus) against L’Jarius Sneed and tight end Evan Engram against Kansas City’s linebackers and safety. On the perimeter, Zay Jones and Marvin Jones will be covered by rookies Trent McDuffie and Jaylen Watson, and they’re a little easier to throw than Sneed, but Lawrence was at his best tearing through the middle – especially when he was able to push the ball into the field while doing so.

Putting the ball down the field takes time to shoot, and Jacksonville’s offensive line will have their hands full with Kansas City’s forward — particularly Chris Jones. Lawrence’s superpower is his ability to avoid sacks, but it’s harder to do that when the pressure comes from the middle and straight into his lap. That’s where Jones comes in, and if the Jags can’t stop him from breaking his pocket, it could be a long day for their offense. Lawrence may also have to work on his checkdowns more often than he’d like (Travis Etienne has rarely been targeted in recent weeks) if Jones is dominating the game.

The Jags might be tempted to try and play tight in a game where they’re underdogs, but they really need to do the opposite. Kansas City will score; putting the game on Lawrence’s right shoulder, rather than relying on Etienne and the offensive line to control the ball all game, is Jacksonville’s best chance of causing an upset.

When the Chiefs have the ball

When those two teams played several weeks ago, Patrick Mahomes fired up the Jaguars’ secondary going 26-of-35 for 331 yards with four touchdowns and an interception. He added seven rushing attempts for 39 yards without taking a sack. He did this despite missing JuJu Smith-Schuster to a concussion and Andrew Wylie to an elbow injury in the first half.

It makes sense that he was able to light up the Jaguars, given the areas of relative weakness in Jacksonville’s defense.

The Jags ranked 32nd in Football Outsiders DVOA against shooting to closed ends this season, for example, and Mahomes completed 6-of-7 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown to Travis Kelce, as well as 3-of-3 passes for 26 yards and a score for Noah Gray and Jody Fortson. No team in the league has seen their opponents throw a greater share of their pass attempts to running backs, according to Tru Media, and Mahomes connected with Jerick McKinnon 6 of 8 passes for 56 yards. Only two teams allowed more receiving yards to the lined up players in the slot than the Jaguars, and Mahomes went 10-of-13 for 153 yards and two scores to the slot men during the game, despite Smith-Schuster leaving early.

Well, here we are a few months later, and Kelce is still Kelce, McKinnon is even more entrenched as Kansas City’s leading offense, Smith-Schuster is back, and the Jaguars still have the same relative weaknesses of a passing defense. In other words, this sets up a beautiful matchup for Mahomes. The places he likes to go with the ball are the same places the Jaguars tend to leave open, and we’ve already seen him break them up with these exact types of shots.

Laying a replay is betting on Jacksonville’s defense to suddenly perform out of the ordinary against the best quarterback in the league, or on said quarterback to perform out of the ordinary against a defense not so well equipped to handle him or his weapons. primaries.

Throw in the fact that the Jaguars also ranked 29th in the NFL in DVOA rush defense this season, and that the Chiefs likely have an advantage in the trenches, and the likelihood of the Chiefs’ offense failing in this game starts to look pretty minuscule. That’s especially true if what we saw of McKinnon as a rusher last postseason (34 carries for 150 yards) and in the games where he actually got significant carries this year (he went 8-53, 8-51 and 10-52 in the only three games in which he had 8 runs or more).

featured game | Kansas City Chiefs vs Jacksonville Jaguars

Prediction: Chiefs 31, Jaguars 20

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